Renovation

I’m Baaaaack!

Hello – I haven’t been here for a while, but the design inspiration keeps coming! ¬†I’m back to share it, and in case you can’t tell by the vegan leather and the Raybans, I mean business ūüėČ

This year has been full of fresh experiences for me. Here’s a highlight that you’ll soon be able to watch…

A kitchen and dining room remodel I designed in L.A. was filmed in all its stages for HGTV’s Househunters Renovation! I had a blast doing this project, teaming up with my husband Will and his crew at Crescent Canyon Construction. There is nobody on the planet I trust more than Will to do his job well and have my back, so with him as my G.C., I was really able to focus on doing what I love – listening to my clients, coming up with practical and creative solutions to the design challenges, and executing it all as beautifully as possible within our time and budget constraints. The transformation was dramatic, and I am so excited to have it documented by HGTV!

I will be sharing pictures and lots of details about the design as soon as our episode airs on October 28th at 10pm (9 central). One little thing I’ll reveal about my clients is that one of them wanted a kitchen that felt warm and somewhat Traditional, while the other was really excited about Industrial style. Tune in to see how I married their hearts’ desires!

 

 

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Take Me Away // Marina Del Rey Hotel

106289528c495b61dc5591dcf98fd25bLast summer I was a bridesmaid for the 6th and (I assume) final time in my life. With the bride being April, my BFF from high school, this is what bridesmaid duty looked like.

IMG_2087Basically I helped the bride get dressed, and did my best to make sure she felt relaxed and gorgeous. So easy and fun!

As an added bonus, the reception of this beautiful wedding was held at the Marina Del Rey Hotel, where the airy lobby and bar became a new source of design inspiration for me. The hotel was renovated by the Pacifica Group, and I found that the thoughtful mix of design elements Рnautical, mid-century, Moroccan, organic and more Рall added up to a California Eclectic feel that works great for a hotel on the marina. I showed you the wonderful seagull sculpture installation that greets you in the lobby (above). Here are some other things that caught my eye.

Mid-century style furniture mixed with organic pieces like the live-edge coffee table….
image1…all working together with this very contemporary textured wall-treatment.
5ce26ac44da90a89c3d0354a7504a533I’m delighted by unexpected details like this in the floor
image2And this lounge area looked so fun and inviting!
916-681a1264fd78126b97a6439fed83a33b
2d8ce043b366952b68adfa0d1d219faeSALT, the hotel’s bar and restaurant, has contemporary lighting features warmed up by mid-century style furniture.87b54bb43606415cd62189ea7b829345I love the mixture of Wishbone chairs with the quilted texture of the vinyl on the lounge-ier chairs.
f928a1e5eeb5bf2030b3826d143494d7The marina itself is a beautiful sight. I don’t get to this part of L.A. very often, so looking at all these boats bobbing around on the water made me feel like I was on vacation.967-0945a1ed05da7f70493d36317c73e363In fact, I think this place would be a great location for a Staycation!ef5fdf5a3b2f65bf8722c48905eb8874Photos 6-10 are from the Marina Del Rey Hotel website, the rest are by me and a kind bartender at Salt.


Past Work // The Virg – Apartment Bedroom & Bathroom Renovation

This is Part 4 of my series on the recent renovation of The Virg, a 12-unit apartment building in Hollywood that was re-developed by 3SC Capital Partners. I consulted on all the design decisions for the project. You can follow these links to read about what we did with the building’s Exterior, typical Living Room, and typical Kitchen. Now here is what we did with a typical Bedroom and Bathroom in each apartment.DSC_0840 copy
B E D R O O M // B E F O R E

This project was about elevating the property to re-position it in the rental market. The cookie-cutter apartment features of the 1980s had to go: industrial carpet, vertical blinds, and mirrored closet doors.

B E D R O O M // A F T E R

I favor simple white roller shades for this kind of architecture. They offer privacy, but let in light. And they almost disappear when they are rolled up, allowing the view to be a feature of the space. I recommend inside-mounted shades, so that a renter has the option of installing a curtain rod and some drapes over the window. That way, they have the flexibility to express their personal style AND block out more light, if that’s important to them!

blindsThe floors are durable laminate planks, and decently approximate hardwood flooring with a cerused finish. Waaaay more hygienic than carpet, and all a tenant needs to do is throw down their own rug for warmth and style.

Mirrored closet doors are hopelessly dated! (At least, the kind that you find in these 80s and 90s remodels are hopelessly dated!!) We replaced the junk-y sliders in place with simple sliding wood doors, painted white and mounted on a sturdy track. If this was my room, I would get a lightweight and inexpensive mirror, (look for them in hardware stores – about 48″ x 12″ ) and mount it on the back of the bedroom door for a full-length view.¬†doors

B A T H R O O M // B E F O R E

You knew this wasn’t going to be good! This was one of the cleaner bathrooms when we started. The toilet in this unit was OK, but everything else needed to be upgraded. Modular plastic shower units and harsh light fixtures would not do.

IMG_3875

 B A T H R O O M // A F T E R

I have dwelled in many an apartment in my day, and I bring that experience to this kind of design. I know what I yearned for, all those years! So all the new fixtures installed are clean and contemporary-looking. I selected pieces that were relatively inexpensive, without sacrificing practicality. The medicine cabinet is generously sized, and if depth allowed, each bathroom got a double towel- rail. Everyone needs room for at least two towels to hang in a bathroom!bathroomvanityandlight copyWe selected a really neutral gray tile with a hint of texture for the bathroom floors, and continued with the same material in a different size for the shower enclosure. We also added an integrated shampoo niche.
bathroom-ovarall

There is a major cost-saving upside in going with a shower curtain rod instead of glass enclosure, but I don’t like glass enclosures around a tub like this anyway! In a rental, it is more surface area and nooks and crannies to collect mildew and deteriorate the value of the space. There are more potential maintenance issues with glass and doors. And they can be a total pain if you’re trying to bathe babies and little kids. (This is the only bathroom in a 2-bedroom apartment, so we wanted to make it amenable to a young family.) One last reason that I value a curtain rod in a rental unit is style – this bathroom could go in so many directions according to the shower curtain that a tenant hangs. As a renter, I always took advantage of that.

Past Work // Apartment Kitchen Renovation

Here we are back at The Virg, the 12-unit apartment building in Hollywood where I recently completed a major renovation with 3SC developers. You can read about the Exterior transformation here and what we did in a typical Living Room here.  Onto a typical Kitchen!

This was one of the better kitchens in the building when it was bought – recently renovated and pretty clean. But the plan to re-position the property in the rental market meant that we were adding a dishwasher, expanding the foot-print, increasing the counter-space and adding storage. And of course, installing better appliances, finishes and fixtures all around. Tile countertops were not going to cut it!

K I T C H E N 1 // B E F O R E

K I T C H E N 1 // A F T E R

6-kitchenFresh and functional was the goal – in a neutral palette, with modern style. Caesarstone is my go-to counter-top material, and quartz is my answer to a Caesarstone look on a budget! One of the best things we did with it was to finish the top of the pony wall in the material, and extend it out on the end. It’s now a little bar for one.

Even though we were extending the kitchen’s length, we chose to leave the partial wall enclosing one side of the original area in its place. Apart from saving a bit of demo cost, we liked the way it tucked around the side of the fridge, which was black and looked kind of cheap compared to the stainless steel fronts of the appliances.
6-kitchendetail

How will people use this? This is something I’m always picturing when I design interiors. Here, I think the wall we left in place also defines the additional cabinets and counter-top we added on this side as a good place to charge a phone and throw down mail. Or maybe it’s the coffee bar…

 K I T C H E N  2 // B E F O R E

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K I T C H E N  2 // A F T E R

12-kitchen-angle

White subway tile on the walls is inexpensive, neutral, and timeless.¬†Fresh white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a nice deep sink (always under-mount if I can help it – simply the cleanest-looking and easiest to clean) and a goose-neck facet with a pull-out spray elevate the design and increase the apartment’s value. I’m pleased to say that we were able to pull off these spanking new kitchens for under $10,000 each.12-kitchen

Current Project // Eichler House

I’m very excited about this project that me and the team are working on – my first involving an architecturally significant house! Joseph¬†Eichler was a mid-century housing developer who was intent on bringing good design to the post-war masses. He built some 11,000 homes in tracts in his day. The relatively few Eichlers that remain are highly sought after for the way they epitomize Mid-Century California architecture.IMG_5626The house that I am lucky enough to be working on has all the hallmarks of the Eichler style, including a very private front that unfolds upon entry into a beautifully transparent dwelling. There is an interior atrium, and glass walls that invite the eye to travel straight through the house’s interior Living and Dining area to a sparkling pool in the backyard. A connection between the indoors and the outdoors is often something I strive for in my interiors, but in this case, Eichler and the talented architects he hired have more than done the work!IMG_5606Still, there are many things that need updating with this old house, and my client is ready to make an as yet sparsely furnished space feel much more like a home for herself and her family. A kitchen remodel (in which we kept the original foot-print) is almost complete, and room by room, we are decorating the house.¬†IMG_5616My client has a wonderful appreciation for Mid-Century furniture and has acquired a few ,key pieces so far, but told me from the start that she didn’t want her house to look like a Mad Men set! The decorating is a mix of vintage pieces along with new furniture and rugs in a modern eclectic style.
IMG_5576Thank you to Ilse Helgen for taking these cool pictures. She gave me the “Before” pictures I asked her to snap, and then threw in some art!

Past Work // Family Room Reno

About two years ago, we bought a ranch-house in the Valley – a 1930s cottage with a 1970’s face-lift and addition. I immediately thought the sunken Family Room was fantastic because it was light-filled, connected to the yard through huge slider doors, and had a working fireplace. The hardwood floors were in great shape, and I loved the exposed beams.The problem was that the room felt like a giant sauna, with golden-brown knotty wood covering every surface! ¬†Here is how I approached the transformation in the planning phase of the renovation.

MantelBeforePaintLR 13a New

I had originally planned to do a really smooth paint finish over the brick fireplace surround and hearth, but once the other clean details were put in place and the “country” feeling was gone, I came to appreciate the interesting color variations and subtle rawness of the antique brick. My change of heart was a convenient one – painting brick is tricky because of the pointing (“grout” in between the bricks). Adhesion is a challenge, and I happen to find a craggly paint finish very undesirable.

The most dramatic change in the room came with how we dealt with the walls and ceiling. Naturally, we looked at just lightening up the wood paneling with white paint. But the problem with painting knotty wood is that often, in a matter of months or years, the knots insist on showing up as unwelcome yellow blotches through the paint.

The next obvious option was to demo the panels. But the drywall underneath would probably have been a mess, and we knew it was likely that we were going to have to take the walls down to the studs and start over anyway.

detail bOur solution was to put the drywall OVER the existing panels on walls and ceiling. The wood was a good base for the drywall, and we avoided a lot of demolition time and expense and mess by doing it this way.The new drywall overlaps the structural beams a little, but it looks good. I was NOT about to cover up the best parts of the architecture, just because I couldn’t get the transition perfectly right. These beams are gorgeous, and it’s not common for people to build houses with materials like this anymore. So the beams were left revealed, and we had really good drywall guys who made the finish at the exposed edges look smooth – in a raw kind of way!

detail now

Notice the structural pillar between the pony wall and header beam in the foreground of the picture? The curved details of it made it too “country” for my more pared-down aesthetic, so we had it boxed in with plywood, and painted the same color as the cabinets and window trim. And we left the wood caps on the open ends of the walls as a throwback detail!

58 before IMG_7329

I love the clean look we got from going with drywall and paint – especially in the way that the exposed wood beams, which kind of disappeared before, became a wonderfully graphic feature in contrast.

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Sauna no more! We really love spending time in this room. I am looking forward to getting into some other details about it (and showing you some updated pictures) in future posts about lighting, window coverings, furniture arrangements and styling.

Photos: “After” photos courtesy of Robert D. Gentry

Catch Natasha Jansz on HGTV's "HOUSE HUNTER'S RENOVATION" October 28th 10pm/9c